January is the perfect month to spend quiet time reflecting on how last year went. I know it’s crazy that we have to give ourselves permission to take some REAL time and reflect on our life but that’s exactly what happens with overwhelmed schedules and never ending commitments. Thankfully we have a new year to give us permission to step back and look how last year went and to contemplate a new plan for the coming year. I thought I’d share some tips to make sure your quiet time is purpose-filled.
5 Things to Reflect on BEFORE you create a plan for 2016:
Grab last year’s calendar and ask yourself these 5 questions:
- Did you spend your time and energy on what matters most? Knowing what is most important to you is the best guide to determining where you spend your time and energy. These are your VALUES. No one wants to end the year regretting they didn’t spend more time with family, or invest more energy into your business. Before you create a plan for 2016: Clarify your top 5 things that you value most. Hold these values sacred and make sure they get top priority in the new year.
- What did you just love doing last year? These are your passions. Knowing what you are passionate about gives you the positive energy you need to outweigh all the other mundane tasks in your life. Without your own ersonal passion it’s super easy to get drowned in the every day activities and not do anything with true meaning. Before you create a plan for 2016: Identify one cause that you are passionate about supporting this next year. It can be your own business, a charity or new ministry. Find something to be fired up about. ( Key: it has to serve someone other than yourself)
- What were you really good at? It’s okay, I give you permission to pat yourself on the back. Your strengths are a God’s gift for you to make a difference in the world, so go ahead and recognize how important they are. If you have trouble identifying your strengths ask a friend to help you. Are you a good leader? Planner? Event organizer? Encourager? Baker? Caregiver? Before you create a plan for 2016: Look at what you are naturally drawn to doing and which tasks come easy for you.
- What do you wish could’ve been different? Any good reflection has to consider events that we wish were different. Pain and challenges serve just as great of purpose as do our values, passions and strengths. And so when you think back on them ask yourself, “What insight or character building trait was God trying to teach me in this instance?” Was the situation in or out of your control? Is there something you can change so it will be different this next year? The best part of starting a new year is that you can change things with God’s help. Before you create a plan for 2016: Look at the painful events and reflect on what insight God wants to take away from it.
- Are you closer to God today than you were last January? Perhaps the most important of all reflections is on your relationship with God. Building a closer relationship with God is really his ultimate purpose for us on earth. Each day we should strive to be another step closer to him, to be more intimate with him. Before your plan anything for 2016: Close your eyes, bow your head and turn it all over to him. Pray for a closer relationship of trust and surrender.
Designing a life that serves God’s greater purpose is so much fun because it allows us to live fully alive with good intention. He has a plan for your new year to be the best year yet. And the secrets to his plan are reflected in what you’ve learned over the past year. A good start is to know what matters most to you, what do you love to do, what are you good at and what in your past does God want you to use in the future. When you can answer these questions with clarity, you will have Divinely designed action plan for 2016!